Vive La Différence!

Some days, Jeannie and I wonder why we got married at all. We’re so different. Honestly, on some days, you wouldn’t think we had anything in common.

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Jeannie likes to stay home. I like to go out.

I know what I want, and I order it. She likes to read the entire menu “just in case she sees something new and interesting…”

I love to watch sports. She wants to know, “So, this team beats that team. Why does it matter?” I really don’t know what to say to that…

She loves the beach. I think the beach is one long sand trap.

She tells me I’m not always right just because my answers are reasonable.

Yeah, about that last one. She’s the one who believes when I can’t. She knows what the facts are, but she knows there’s more to life—especially life in the Spirit—than what our senses can detect.

She’s the one who finds the details in the fine print that saves us money; I mean, a lot of money.

She’s the one that makes our home a safe haven.

She’s the one who would ask our boys the second question about how they’re feeling and from that, find out the real problem. It’s how she knew one of our sons had appendicitis when I thought it was just a stomach ache (not one of my proudest moments).

Come to think of it, all of those little things that drive me crazy about her are all the same things that well, drive me crazy about her. The things that frustrate me are the other side of the things that make me love her. Her insistence on reading every line of the menu is the same focus that made her a great mother to our boys. I can’t have one without the other.

So, I’ll take it all—and gladly! Jeannie isn’t like me at all, and every day I thank God for that. She has just the right combination of things to keep me intrigued and fascinated for almost 36 years. My life is very different because of her. I’m very different—and better—because of her. Some days, I just can’t figure her out, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What about you and your spouse? How different or alike are you? Today might be good day to talk about that and discover again how each of you brings good things to your marriage. No, we’re not the same. Thank God. Vive la différence!

Falling in Love… Again and Again…

The other day, Jeannie brought an unpleasant truth to my attention. I forget the details, or rather, I choose not to include them, but let’s just say she had to use a firm tone to make her point. I told her, “I liked you better when you were nice.”

Falling in love again

When I first met Jeannie, she was one of the nicest people I had ever met. She still is. She’s just more selective in how and when she shows it. She’s changed.

She had to. When Chris and Craig were born, she became a bionic mother—complete with child-seeking radar, hyper-sensitive hearing, and x-ray vision. As the boys grew, she grew to read their most subtle gestures, hear things in their voices, and see things in their eyes that I could never figure out. She learned to go grocery shopping with a couple of bucks and a handful of coupons. She was an amazing mother to our boys.

Now, we’re in the empty nest, and she’s changing again. Now, she’s cultivating her cooking, baking, and decorating skills…

She’s very different than the girl I married over 35 years ago, and I love her more for it.

I’m sure she would say I’ve changed too, and I guess that’s the point. One of the overlooked joys of a committed marriage is the safety you have in facing necessary changes of life. None of these transitions has been easy. Each one had its share of trial and error. But we found a good place and settled in there until another change was required.

And each of these changes has been intriguing, fascinating, and curiously fun to watch. Each time, with each change, I’ve fallen in love with her all over again.

Jeannie is a different person than the one I married. I guess I’m different too. Our lives are certainly different than when we first started out. Our love is different as well. It’s deeper and stronger than I ever thought or knew it could be.

I have fallen in love with her over and over in our 35 years together. What surprises me, I guess, is how much deeper I have fallen every new time I fall in love with her all over again.

Forgetting The Future [Podcast]

Today on Creating Real Marriages that Last, we talk about the importance of not forgetting about the future. Sometimes we get so overwhelmed by the never-ending list of things we have to do right now, that we literally forget there’s a tomorrow. You also have to balance looking ahead at the future with investing in your relationships now—especially with your spouse. We also discuss how to bring up conversations about the future (finances, funerals, etc.) with your spouse.

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You Don’t Have to Be Perfect

All of us have had that moment. You know the one. Some important event is coming up—a birthday or anniversary—and we want the moment to be perfect. So we think and think and we plan and plan and when we can’t get things done exactly the way we want, we give up and don’t do anything.

You Don’t Have to Be Perfect

If we can’t do it right, we say to ourselves, it’s better not to do anything at all.

No, it’s not.

Your spouse won’t hear that you couldn’t get it done perfectly, they will only know you didn’t do anything at all. Something is always better than nothing.

Here’s a little secret most of us overlook: your spouse knows you’re not perfect. They married you anyway. If the birthday cake is one candle short, it won’t matter. If the restaurant turns out to be overrated by the “experts,” no one will really care. In fact, you’ll look back and be amazed at how an evening that starts out that badly ends up being one of the best nights ever.

You know the old saying, “It’s the thought that counts.” Well, not exactly. It’s the “thinking” that counts. The fact that you were thinking—a lot of thoughts lined up one after the other—is what will say all that you want to say. It may not be perfect, but it will be close enough for love.

Don’t let trying to be perfect freeze you into inaction. Do something. Love, even imperfectly expressed, is better than love left unsaid.